(Sermon preached on Sunday, September 24, 2017, at Maranatha Church, Cambridge)
Read through John 21:15-25.
As you read this passage, notice how Jesus speaks personally to Peter, and addresses his own heart issues. Jesus does not let Peter shift the focus to John (“the other disciple”), making it clear to him that “you must follow me!” Too often we use the bible to judge others, instead of letting the bible judge us. As far as Jesus is concerned, other peoples’ sins are like ‘specks of sawdust’ to me, compared to my own sins which are ‘planks’ to me (Matthew 7:3-5). At the same time, my sins to others are ‘specks’, while their sins are ‘planks’ to them. In other words, allow the Spirit to deal with your own issues, and let the Spirit deal with others for their issues.
As a disciple, I am training WITH Jesus to become LIKE Jesus, so that I can live FOR Jesus in the world. This is why I read the bible, to hear what He is saying to me, and how He is calling me to repent, to change, to live more like Him… with His help. The good news is that He has beaten Satan and sin and death. I am forgiven AND free in Christ, and with His help I can grow more and more LIKE Him. This is a lifetime journey – three steps forward and two steps back. But His victory guarantees my victory. This is what motivates me to keep learning, keep growing, keep improving.
If we as disciples spent less time focusing on other’s sins, and instead were honest about our own, I am convinced more people would be attracted to our faith in Jesus, and to our churches. As it stands, many people view the church as judgmental and hypocritical, and have no desire to know this kind of Jesus.
What do you think?